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Students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), within the The IEEE South Africa Section, will be working on their project, “Photovoltaic Powered Study Lamp Incorporating An AM/FM Radio and Mobile Phone Charger” in 2011.


South Africa Study Lamp Project

In rural and developing areas of Africa, there is a lack of expected comforts that other areas of the world take for granted, such as light and energy. Sometimes building or receiving these necessities help to stimulate communities and raise the quality of life for families.
To help encourage these struggling areas, undergraduate students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, in South Africa, will be designing and building a solar photo-voltaic lamp that is portable and suitably priced for rural households. The lamp will have additional functions such as an AM/FM radio and the capability to charge mobile phones. With further enhancement, it would also be capable of including a miniature multi-media device. 
The project will involve 4th year students at the University. The work of the students will be guided and mentored by IEEE member Edward Chikuni, along with a Senior Academic, who will insure that they learn design skills and other necessary knowledge associated with their degree program. Most importantly, students will learn to work in teams and serve their community. They will collaborate with “Family Literacy Project,” a non-profit organization with strong activities in education and literacy among rural dwellings. The university students will interact with high school students at Qalimfundo Primary School for feedback on the project.
At the beginning of 2011, data will be collected from rural areas to determine the specifications of the lamp design. During the students first semester, they will work in groups to come up with conceptual designs to compare with one another. By the end of 2011, a detailed prototype and design should be ready. The construction and deployment of these lamps will happen in 2012, when the project is evaluated and refined through government participation.
The ultimate goal of this project is to enhance the educational experience of rural families, and encourage students to serve these communities with their engineering backgrounds. With more available access to the functions of the lamp, young children can start, from a young age, to learn and increase their literacy. In turn, it will empower them to find greater opportunities for more educational endeavors.


Contact Information

To learn more about this EPICS project, send an email to